August 15th, 2018

The not so short shirt story. (Part II)

Posted on April, 21, 2007

Then I took another deep-er breath. It appears deep breaths do a world of good to the constitution, physical as well as moral, of people about to plunge into more difficult aspects of life in general, and of a conversation about exchanging a shirt for something else than a shirt in particular. Appearances are deceptive, and so I found out when the deep breath did little for any of my constitutions, but I decided to take the plunge nonetheless.

I cleared my throat though, since I was afraid that my voice would quaver when requesting something that would quite evidently put considerable strain on the patience as well as good manners of the salesperson, both of which qualities he did not seem to have been blessed in abundance with anyway. There was also some evidence to suggest that the salesperson’s job description did not emphasize facilitating people with not-so-sound prior good judgement when such people brought back shirts sans original packing, and expected to go home humming a merry tune with something else than a shirt in their bags. There were factors galore, in other words, that could bring a quiver to one’s voice when stating one’s objective behind bringing the shirt back – and that too, mind you, without the original packing, and a clearing of one’s throat was hence well warranted.

After the throat had been sufficiently cleared, it occurred to me that instead of asking the salesperson’s permission to opt for another article of attire, one could perhaps adopt a not so straight forward course of action. It occurred to me rather suddenly that having a paunch in the dimensions I was blessed with had some inherent advantages, and chief amongst those advanatges was the fact that there were few articles of clothing that could look becoming when wrapped around the sheer girth of my equator – or what would have qualified to be my equator were I technically a circle. In all fairness I was guilty of not having paid attention to these advantages prior to that day. It was to be assumed that the salesperson would find it relatively less offensive were one to try out all the available shirts at the store with a vangeance and so arrive at the conclusion that none of the store’s products seemed to have been stitched with the sole purpose of flattering one into thinking that one could look good in an article of PnC clothing.

I proceeded with this plan of action, and asked to be shown a few shirts for size. The salesperson feigned surprise at my apparent ignorance and told me quite politely how very unlikely it was for the standard shirt sizes to have changed ever since I had last bought a shirt for myself. “Surely”, he seemed to be saying, “you have not gained all of that ‘prosperity’ overnight, have you now? Do not know what shirt size you are! Are you telling me this is the first time you are buying a shirt for yourself, all by yourself?” This is where I found out that I was dealing not with a novice but a professional, a finding that underlined to me the perils of under-estimating the enemy, and caused me to issue a harsh-worded rebuke to self silently.

My plan seemed to be headed for destruction unless I made a quick recovery, and make one I did – albiet unbeknownst to myself. The details are a bit hazy, but what I have surmised is that while I was issuing those silent rebukes to self, my facial expressions must have been oscillating between those of one issuing rebukes and those of one at the recieving end of such rebukes – and seeing that must have made a profound impression on the salesman. An impression that was not to last for very long, but did the job in the present quite well. The salesman proceeded to bring me a few shirts to try for size.

In the try room, a trial of a different kind presented itself to me. Suffice it is to say that there crept in another factor into the equation, which made it imperative for a new strategy to be devised and adopted at the earliest. As for the trial, allow me to leave a hint or two for the perceptive reader: It is normal practice at most stores to have a few shirts lounging about for people who are buying a shirt for the first time and need to see what size fits them better than others, or looks less inappropriate on them than others. Presumably the store has a strategy to tackle the challenge presented by people who are not bestowed with a necessary-to-buy-a-shirt-imaginative mind, people who know what size fits them well, but cannot for the life of them decide, without trying a shirt on and looking at themselves in the mirror from all directions, whether or not it might look as good on them as a shirt must for them to make a buying decision. One steers clear of unnecessary presumptions though, and leaves the store’s business to those who make it their business in the most literal sense. Whether or not a strategy is in place to tackle the afore-mentioned challenge, a store must have a few shirts in different sizes readily available so the less priveleged can make a more informed decision when they come in to buy a shirt for the first time and without the slightest indication of what size might suit them best.

The shirts deployed for such duty are quite often in colors that in a shirt one might refrain from classifying as pleasing to the eye, and in patterns that one can hardly be faulted for assuming were not the intended patterns when the shirts were being made. As long, however, as one does not intend buying those shirts and wearing them to the prestigious events in one’s life, and more importantly, as long as one is only expected to guage an idea about the right size so that one can invest in a shirt made in a completely different color and one that sports a perfectly non-hedious pattern, one does not mind donning such a shirt for a few seconds. The trouble, however, is that when a shirt has been worn by a few hundred people over the course of the past few days, it is likely to be equipped well enough to invade one’s nostrils from a mile..

When the salesman had initially brought me the hedious yellow shirt, I had attributed the revulsion in my senses more to the color of the shirt than anything else, but when the familiar revulsion returned upon being presented the blue shirt with the pink patterns in it, I knew it had to be more than just color. I also knew at that very moment that I had not the stomach to try on the other four possible sizes, so I decided to throw caution to the wind, and prepared to put my tackling hands around the salesman’s horns.

I took another deep breath, partly to expunge the invading forces from my system, and partly to strengthen my resolve to assert my right to buying a diferent article of clothing instead of the shirt.


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